Ultimate 6-Day Itinerary for Southern Germany

Planning a road trip itinerary for southern Germany is an exciting venture, especially considering it’s a prime tourist destination. The region has the stunning Alpine landscape, with the majestic Zugspitze, King Ludwig II’s fairy tale castles, serene glacier lakes, and picturesque villages dotting at the foothills of the Alps. Even if you’ve never set foot in Southern Germany, you’ve likely heard of iconic landmarks like the BMW headquarters, Munich’s famed Hofbräuhaus beer, and the traditional Lederhosen worn during Oktoberfest.

Crafting an itinerary for southern Germany for our family of seven, including my 80-year-old mother and my brother’s family, proved to be a real challenge. Starting our journey in Frankfurt, we opted for a road trip, providing us with the flexibility to explore without being constrained by local public transportation.

View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the Marienbrucke (Mary's Bridge)
View from the parking area outside of Oberammergau, Bavaria Germany

Our itinerary for southern Germany

However, our family of seven, with both elderly members and young kids, had a diverse set of interests. With recommendations from my German relatives, we’ve crafted the following itinerary for southern Germany, covering some of the major sites in the area:

  • Day 1: Depart from Frankfurt, take a break in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and arrive in Ettal.
  • Day 2: Visit Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle, and dine in the old centre of Füssen.
  • Day 3: Reach the summit of Germany at Zugspitze and enjoy dinner in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
  • Day 4: Explore Munich and savor a jug of Hofbräuhaus Beer.
  • Day 5: Discover the Painted Façades (Lüftlmalerei) in Oberammergau and visit the Ettal Abbey.
  • Day 6: Depart from Ettal, climb up the tallest church spire in the world in Ulm, and return to Frankfurt.

Where we stayed

Building our southern Germany itinerary, we decided to book our accommodations at Posthotel Ettal in the quaint Bavarian village of Ettal. Its proximity to our planned destinations saved us valuable travel time. Ettal may not be widely known among Bavarian travelers, but it owns fame for the renowned Ettal Abbey.

The village features several hotels offering excellent value for the prices. Initially eyeing the Klosterhotel Ludwig der Bayer, operated by Ettal Abbey, we encountered a hurdle – only two rooms were available when we needed three. Consequently, we secured reservations at the adjacent Posthotel Ettal.

The Posthotel Ettal provides amenities like a breakfast buffet, WiFi, and parking spaces. Additionally, the hotel owner runs a restaurant in the heart of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, serving authentic Bavarian cuisine.

Entrance of the Posthotel Ettal
Entrance of the Posthotel Ettal
Street View from the Entrance of the Posthotel Ettal
Street View from the Entrance of the Posthotel Ettal

Day 1: Depart from Frankfurt, take a break in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and arrive in Ettal

We set off from Frankfurt at 9:00 in the morning, opting for the route via Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Seizing the opportunity, we explored the city and enjoyed a late lunch there.

After another two hours of driving, we departed from the highway south of Munich, choosing to drive the local roads. As Ettal drew near, the panorama of the Alps unfolded before us.

Finally, around 19:00, we reached Ettal and checked into the Posthotel Ettal.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber; Germany castle route; Germany romantic road
The Old Wall of Rothenburg ob der Tauber; Germany castle route; Germany romantic road

Day 2: Visit Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle, and dine in the old centre of Füssen

On our journey from Ettal to Neuschwanstein Castle, we had to cross over the route passing by Linderhof Palace, once the residence of King Ludwig II. We took the chance to explore the palace and its beautiful gardens. The guided tour of the palace took approximately one hour.

After exploring Linderhof, we proceeded on our journey towards Hohenschwangau, reaching the destination around lunchtime. With our Neuschwanstein Castle guided tour scheduled for 16:00, we took the opportunity to hike up to Marienbrücke, capturing the perfect panoramic shot of the castle.

Since Füssen is only a short distance from Neuschwanstein Castle, we decided to head there after our castle tour.

The Lindnerhof Palace, Bavaria, Germany; itinerary for southern Germany;Itinerary for Southern Germany
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the Marienbrucke (Mary's Bridge);  Itinerary for Southern Germany
Zugspitze Observation Platform; Itinerary for Southern Germany

Day 3: Reach the summit of Germany at Zugspitze and enjoy dinner in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

About 2,962 metres above sea level, Zugspitze is Germany’s highest elevation in the Alps. It is famous not only for its height but also for the other things, such as its views from the top to the four countries, the highest chapel in the world, and the historic border crossing.

Sitting on an impressive altitude of 2,962 meters above sea level, Zugspitze stands as Germany’s loftiest peak in the Alps. Beyond its remarkable height, Zugspitze is renowned for the panoramic vistas it offers, spanning across four countries. Additionally, it has the distinction of housing the highest chapel globally and serving as a historic border crossing.

The Observation Platform of Zugspitze; Itinerary for Southern Germany

Day 4: Explore Munich and savor a jug of Hofbräuhaus Beer.

In general, finding parking in downtown Munich on a typical Saturday can be challenging and expensive for a whole day. To address this, we opted to purchase a group day ticket that would cover all the sites on our itinerary.

Early in the morning, we drove to the Höllriegelskreuth train station, the closest station offering free parking. The group day ticket from Höllriegelskreuth to Munich city center cost us less than 30 Euros, encompassing access to all the city zones we planned to explore.

We took the train (S-Bahn) to the Karlsplatz and started our city walk. At the Odeonplatz, we took public transportation to the BMW World and the BMW Museum. So, the itinerary of our day trip to Munich was:

Boarding the train (S-Bahn), we reached Karlsplatz and commenced our city stroll. At Odeonplatz, we utilized public transportation to reach the BMW World and the BMW Museum. Thus, our day trip itinerary for Munich played out as follows:

  • Exploring Marienplatz’s attractions
  • Strolling around the vibrant Viktualienmarkt
  • Taking a brief coffee break at Kaffeerösterei Viktualienmarkt
  • Basking in window shopping at the fashionable stores downtown
  • Savoring lunch at Hofbräuhaus and enjoy a jug of its signature beer
  • Discovering the latest car models at BMW World
  • Immersing ourselves in BMW’s rich history at its museum
Powered by GetYourGuide
BMW headquarter in Munich, Germany
Painted façades (Lüftmalerei) in Oberammergau

Day 5: Depart from Ettal, climb up the tallest church spire in the world in Ulm, and return to Frankfurt

In the morning

I first heard about Oberammergau when I was learning German. It’s a small town in the Bavarian Alps. Only a few thousand people live there, and it’s famous for its beautiful wall paintings, the emotional Passion Play event, and a long tradition of woodcarving. To avoid the busy crowds, we went there in the early morning and spent a relaxed couple of hours exploring until lunchtime.

In the afternoon

Later, we made our way back to Ettal. After residing in Ettal for a few days, we finally seized the opportunity to explore the Ettal Abbey. With its castle-like exterior, the abbey is a self-sustaining haven where monks produce everything necessary for their livelihood.

Besides, the Ettal Abbey also runs the Klosterhotel Ludwig der Bayer opposite the street.

In the evening

We wrapped up our day with a hearty dinner at the restaurant of Ettal Monastery. Notably, the restaurant has a four-hundred-year history, and the cuisine, featuring delights like Kaiserschmarrn, is absolutely delectable.

Ettal Abbey in Bavaria; Itinerary for Southern Germany
Ettal Abbey in Bavaria

Day 6: Leave Ettal, Climb up the tallest church spire in the world in Ulm and arrive at Frankfurt

We left from Ettal after an early breakfast on our final day. The sky was painted in a serene blue with just a few fluffy clouds, and a gentle breeze whispered through the air. As we journeyed along the local road towards the highway, the picturesque roadside scenery came into sight – charming Bavarian-style houses, lush green grasslands, and churches crowned with distinctive onion domes.

Ulm is where Einstein was born, but it’s famous for more than that – it’s an old city with lots of interesting historical places. The drive from Ettal to Ulm, taking approximately two hours, marked the final day of our southern Germany itinerary as we made our way back to Frankfurt. During our time in Ulm, we took a Ulm walking tour, discovering the city’s rich history and soaking in its unique atmosphere.

We stayed in Ulm until evening, fully soaking in the charm of our Ulm walking tour. Upon arriving in Frankfurt, it was already around 22:00. Despite feeling tired and hungry, there was a profound sense of contentment knowing we had crafted a perfect itinerary for our southern Germany journey.

A narrow alley and restaurant corner in Ulm old town;
Ulm old town;

How to reach southern Germany

By plane

If you land at Frankfurt Airport, consider renting a car to head south, mirroring our approach.

For arrivals at Munich Airport, the Lufthansa Express Bus provides a convenient nonstop link from the airport to the city center, irrespective of your airline.

By train

Extensive train networks connect to various cities in southern Germany, including Ulm and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Secure your tickets online for hassle-free travel.

By car

Setting off on a road journey from Frankfurt or Munich to southern Germany is relatively straightforward. If opting for a car rental, you can collect your vehicle at Frankfurt Airport, the city of Frankfurt, in Munich, or Munich Airport, depending on your arrival location and chosen rental company.


  1. I love Germany and can’t wait to return. The buildings are just so pretty in these smaller places, and I would like to really spend more time exploring.

  2. Germany has the most beautiful castles!! I have only been to Berlin and Dresden but I would love to explore more of the country starting with some of these places you highlighted 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.